Shaw Contract awards

“Good design has its own language”

May 19, 2017
  • Article by Online Editor

Four Australian projects – which have been applauded for good design – have been announced as market award winners in the Shaw Contract Design Awards. Chosen from a field of 497 globally, across 32 countries, the awards strongly represented Australian design, with local winners across the education, public space and office categories.

Melanie Mackenzie, a practice director at TKD Architects, took part in the international judging in Georgia. When speaking of the experience, she says, “It became evident that all the judges were on the same page in looking for good, quality design. And good design has its own language.

“On a professional level, it was fascinating for me to see how Australia compares internationally and we really are at the top level on a global scale.”

Frank Bartlett Library & Services Centre by FJMT is known at the 'community centre' in the town of Moe, Victoria. Photo by John Gollings.
Frank Bartlett Library & Services Centre by FJMT is known at the ‘community centre’ in the town of Moe, Victoria. Photo by John Gollings.

The judging was done blind, with no practice names revealed and Mackenzie elaborates that despite the multinational judging teams, in most cases they all agreed on the final winners as again it simply came down to good design. “In the education category, which I was judging, it was the projects that used design to create something different, showed a link or connection between the interior and exterior, or thought through how users transition through the series of spaces that shone brightly,” she says.

The Shaw Contract Design Awards set out to honour projects that achieve both human and business goals while representing best practice in global design. Australia delivered the goods with the following award-winning projects:

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Frank Bartlett Library & Services Centre by FJMT | Public Space category

FJMT’s library project in regional Victoria was recognised for its engagement with the community through design and architecture. The building activates and initiates a new civic heart for the town of Moe. A democratic approach has led to a space that has been embraced by residents.

The centre incorporates natural light. Photo by John Gollings.
The centre incorporates natural light. Photo by John Gollings.

As the architect’s statement outlines, “There was a strong focus on creating diverse public urban spaces, attracting all demographics to the building and making full use of community rooms and the library. The client incorporated locally sourced materials and trades to encourage sustainability outcomes, boost the local economy, and meet government targets for supporting local communities.”

A key part of the design is flooring that is both unifying throughout the variety of spaces, while also allowing a sense of identity for each. This was achieved by using variegated finishes as required.

Plan by FJMT.
Plan by FJMT.

Notre Dame Centre, Our Lady of Sion College by Law Architects | Education category

Law Architects has created an appropriate adult-style facility for the senior students of Our Lady of Sion College through the Notre Dame Centre. The design is a response to the client’s goal of “providing students with an effective independent and collaborative learning environment.”

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Notre Dame Centre, Our Lady of Sion College by Law Architects. Photo by Adam Thwaites.

By carefully considering the social and environmental impacts, the new facility maximises concentration, stimulation and engagement, while using fundamental sustainability principles such as passive solar design and mixed mode ventilation to garner daylight and fresh air.

The new senior school building integrates with the rest of the existing school. Photo by Adam Thwaites.
The new senior school building integrates with the rest of the existing school. Photo by Adam Thwaites.

Integrating the new building within the context of the existing school community, clever connections have been designed for teachers and students to actively engage with adjacent buildings and spaces. This was also achieved by using the flooring design to soften the edges between learning spaces and transition spaces, the Hexagon carpet tile by Shaw being key in executing this.

Photo by Adam Thwaites.
Photo by Adam Thwaites.
Floor plan with carpet design.
Floor plan with carpet design.

Ground floor Reid Library refurbishment by SCHIN Architects | Education category

Transparency was the driving notion for SCHIN Architects’ refurbishment of the Reid Library at the University of Western Australia. The space previously housed print collections and staff offices, and now boasts a collaborative zone replete with multimedia and a range of workspaces.

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Reid Library Refurbishment by SCHIN Architects. Photo by Peter Bennetts.

Understanding the benefits of bringing natural light into a space, the renovation included the insertion of glass partitions along the north-south axis. This design feature not only incorporates sustainability principles but also facilitates a sense of wellbeing in the historic building. The renovation takes into account how existing users interact with the space and has provided design solutions especially catering to their needs – for example: dining, study, lounge, task, and reclining options, along with more modern additions like wi-fi and power points.

Photo by Peter Bennetts.
Photo by Peter Bennetts.

As a 24-hour student facility, the finishes had to be highly durable, while responding to the ambient requirements of each space, which is where the flooring became an important consideration for the final design outcome.

Shaw Contract Awards

Floor finishes plan by SCHIN Architects.
Floor finishes plan by SCHIN Architects.

Salvation Army headquarters by Bates Smart | Office category

Rounding out the four market award winners is the Salvation Army headquarters by Bates Smart. The new office space for the not-for-profit brings together all the teams under one roof, with the 450 staff members previously spread across Sydney.

The Salvation Army HQ was part of pro bono work by Bates Smart. Photo by Trevor Mein.
The Salvation Army HQ was part of pro bono work by Bates Smart. Photo by Trevor Mein.

The design accommodates a huge range of spaces in the program, from counselling rooms, prayer spaces and a breakout space for 700. The budget was an obvious concern for the organisation so clever cost-saving solutions have been used where possible – such as raw ply and polished concrete.

Photo by Trevor Mein.
Photo by Trevor Mein.

The carpet tile aided in the project exceeding sustainability requirements, while also allowing for customisation and establishing delineated circulation paths.

Floor plan.
Floor plan.

Shaw Contract is a content partner of ADR.

Read more about the Salvation Army headquarters here.

Chee chair from SP01

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